Meals Ready To Starve

Folks with disaster packs at the ready — as all of us in the Western US earthquake zone should have — may wish to reevaluate their nutritional options.

Meals for Marines in Afghanistan insufficient, report states

By Bob Brewin
Federal Computer Week
Jan. 18, 2007

Marines deployed in Afghanistan are not getting adequate nutrition from the Defense Department’s standard combat ration, Meals Ready to Eat [MREs], the Marine Corps Center for Lessons Learned (MCLL) said in its January newsletter.

Marine and Army troops deployed to Afghanistan conduct dismounted operations — meaning they walk instead of ride — in mountainous terrain and MREs do not provide enough nutrition for their mission, the MCCLL newsletter states.

As a result, “many Marines and soldiers lost 20 to 40 pounds of bodyweight during their deployment,” the newsletter states. It adds that at least one solider was evacuated because of malnutrition [emphasis added] and a 60-pound weight loss.

…The Army Soldier Systems Center, which is responsible for development of combat rations, did not return calls from Federal Computer Week about the lack of nutrition in MREs by deadline.

Windows Vista! It’s Spook-erific!

Although just about a month old now, this news item just crossed the ol’ Brainpain today…

For Windows Vista Security, Microsoft Called in Pros

By Alec Klein and Ellen Nakashima
Washington Post
Tuesday, January 9, 2007

When Microsoft introduces its long-awaited Windows Vista operating system this month, it will have an unlikely partner to thank for making its flagship product safe and secure for millions of computer users across the world: the National Security Agency.

For the first time, the giant software maker is acknowledging the help of the secretive agency, better known for eavesdropping on foreign officials and, more recently, U.S. citizens as part of the Bush administration’s effort to combat terrorism. The agency said it has helped in the development of the security of Microsoft’s new operating system — the brains of a computer — to protect it from worms, Trojan horses and other insidious computer attackers.

“Our intention is to help everyone with security,” Tony W. Sager, the NSA’s chief of vulnerability analysis and operations group, said yesterday. [cough]

The NSA’s impact may be felt widely. Windows commands more than 90 percent of the worldwide market share in desktop operating systems, and Vista, which is set to be released to consumers Jan. 30, is expected to be used by more than 600 million computer users by 2010, according to Al Gillen, an analyst at market research firm International Data.

…”I kind of call it a Good Housekeeping seal” of approval, said Michael Cherry, a former Windows program manager who now analyzes the product for Directions on Microsoft, a firm that tracks the software maker. …

Yyyyeah. Duly noted.

Read the full article at the link above. Although…I would be remiss to not quote the following as well:

…Other software makers have turned to government agencies for security advice, including Apple, which makes the Mac OS X operating system. “We work with a number of U.S. government agencies on Mac OS X security and collaborated with the NSA on the Mac OS X security configuration guide,” said Apple spokesman Anuj Nayar in an e-mail.

Novell, which sells a Linux-based operating system, also works with government agencies on software security issues, spokesman Bruce Lowry said in an e-mail, “but we’re not in a position to go into specifics of the who, what, when types of questions.” …

El Topo Opens at the Grand Illusion — One Week Only

This Friday (Feb. 2, 2007), Alejandro Jodorowsky’s El Topo begins a one-week run in Seattle at The Grand Illusion, in the U-District at the corner of 50th and University Way (aka The Ave).  Enter on 50th.

Showtimes:  6:30 PM and 8:45 PM daily.  Plus:  4  PM matinees on Sat. 2/3 and Sun. 2/4; and 11 PM late nites on Fri. 2/2 and Sat. 2/3.  Run concludes on Thurs. 2/8, and Holy Mountain opens the following day.

As was sorted out here in unnecessary but joyously geeky detail, both El Topo and Holy Mountain are being screened as new 35mm prints, only months old according to the distributer.  El Topo is a newly-struck 35mm print of the 1996 optical restoration (not the just completed full digital restoration supervised by Jodorowsky himself).  But word is that Holy Mountain (opening Fri. 2/9) will indeed be a new 35mm print of the newest restoration (again, supervised by Jodorowsky).

Drinking From the Music Blog Firehose

Of late, when moments allow, I’ve been exploring a number of very rewarding music blogs out there. Following is a compendium of what I consider to be particularly notable such blogs and/or postings (which I’ll likely add to in the next day or so, so revisit if you’re so inclined). It’s also well worth mentioning that the blogrolls of these cats are prolly worth exploring (during your copious free time) — not to mention the usual suspects WFMU’s Beware of the Blog, UBUWEB, Strange Reaction, 7inch Punk, and any of the various music links off on the right side of this here post.

Oh, and please remember (and spread the word): friends don’t let friends use RapidShare. (In this context, the more daring and tinker-prone might try RapidShare Link Grabber — caveat emptor and no warranty or endorsement granted or implied.) Here’s a link that offers a list of some alternative filesharing services with less obnoxious end-user experiences.

Mutant Sounds. Ho. Ly. Crap. Not only do you get numerous NWW List ultra-rarities, you get even more stuff that would make any self-respecting avant collector scum drool themselves half to death. And intelligent and oft-even-erudite annotations. Dang. There’s a reason this one is listed first.

FM SHADES. I first learned of this blog qua the Velvet Underground “Dolph acetate” I recently yammered about at some length, and I keep going back. Deeply obscure but almost always delicious selections of early electronics, prog, avant jazz, bent folk, and some things I prolly wouldn’t normally bother with but am almost always glad I did. Just one absolute must have is Pierre Henry’s incredible Mise en Musique du Corticalart de Roger LaFosse (1971), in which the brain waves of one Roger LaFosse are transformed by analog synthesis. Run, don’t walk.

Mended Records. A music blog, not a label. And yes, more please thank you! Currently an emphasis on vinyl rips of gaspingly rare ’80s avant music: Eugene Chadbourne free improv, Fred Frith table-top guitars in Japan, Arcane Device (!), This Heat, Slapp Happy’s BBC sessions, Bob Ostertag, and hell even avant garde groups from friggin’ Estonia! Downside: RapidShit.

Iva Bittová & Pavel Fajt: Bittová & Fajt (1987) via Orang Aural, which has now relocated to the fervently recommended Border Music (see below). Violin and percussion?? Oh hell yeah. Unspeakably beautiful music from this Czech avant duo deeply informed by Roma tradition. Every one of their albums are worth seeking out…if you can even find them. This one is especially rare. Iva has also released some very worthwhile solo recordings. Iva…if you ever need someone to have your baby, just let me know. It’s medically impossible, but I’ll find a way. I’m just sayin’.

Border Music. Um. Wow. Are you ready to pee your pants and not mind one bit? In re: the same cat that brought us the aforementioned Bittová & Fajt at his previous blog-home, I offer six all-important words (integers duly re-typed): The Residents – Early Works (1971-72). As in the complete mythic and illusory Baby Sex, the impossibly ellusive The Warner Brothers Album, and the very first Santa Dog double single. Wait, don’t pee yet. 192kbps rips. Okay, now pee. (And as you change pants, try to forget he uses RapidShitbag.) The Residents post alone is worthy of embarrassing kowtowing (op cit.), but our good captain is also conversant with the likes of Evan Parker, Bob Ostertag, Steve Lacy, René Lussier, Massacre, Frith, et al. Dude.

Bubblegum Machine. All this synaptic avant screeching humming blat shit is plenty well and good, but man…sometimes some delicious AM radio pop is just plain refreshing. Two songs posted every week, and the archives stay active in perpetuity. Quote: “Manifesto. If it’s ever been on K-Tel or Ronco, it’s in. If it features hand claps, cow bells, syrupy orchestration, walls of sound, wrecking crews, sha-la-las, toothy teen idols, candy-based metaphors for carnal acts or lyrics about hugging, squeezing and rocking all night long, it’s in.” You’ll be sitting at your desk stifling the urge to harmonize. Now…if someone would just start making flesh-toned iPod earbuds for use during meetings….

BBC Radiophonic Collections and Dr. Who Soundtracks. The infinitely magnanimous if slightly eccentric X-Y-Z-Cosmonaut once saw fit to post literally hours of precious recordings by the BBC Radophonic Workshop. (Read: “Incredibly rare and absolutely essential early electronic music.”) The rest of the blog is interesting if you’re interested: ’70s “blaxploitation” comic books, obscure ’70s Saturday AM superhero TV video rips, and similarly kitschy fare…all with admirably obsessive glee. But dude: BBC Radiophonics! (Albeit all via the damnable autofelching hell that is RapidShare). To wit:

And while you’re there — and only if you can’t find the original article, which is lovingly assembled, gorgeously packaged in an fascinatingly extensive hardbound booklet, and well worth every red cent — you may as well grab Raymond Scott: Manhattan Research Inc. (2-CDs, 69 tracks total).

And speaking of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, you should definitely read this absolutely superlative extended essay: “BBC Radiophonic Workshop: An Engineering Perspective.”

Delia Derbyshire: Electronic Music Pioneer. Speaking (again) of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, you must stop by this site to both learn about this (gasp!) female pioneer of electronic music and to visit the Music Clips page to avail yourself of excellent and rare works, including a few pieces unavailable anywhere else.

Crap I Found At the Library. Get real. How can you not be a slave to a music blog whose first-page posts include Curtis “Shaft” Mayfield’s gospel album, Killdozer, Javanese gamelan, and Woody Guthrie? Digging a little deeper, you’ll find yodeling from Austria and Switzerland, Hawaiian exotica, and a full rip of the priceless Best of Ralph compilation (which some rat bastard stole from me back in my DJ-ing days at Club Dreamerz…may your pecker fall off and kill all around you with its putrescence), a theremin compilation, circus music, and a sound effects record. Just for starters. Can you buy someone a beer over email? Hell…are we related?

ShortWaveMusic. Okay, I confess I’ve not yet really checked this one out…but how can I not include any blog “featuring music and/or musical noise intercepted via shortwave radio.” I mean, c’mon.

The Conet Project. Well, if I’m gonna mention shortwave at all, then I must not take one more breath or step without referring you to the legendary Conet Project: a 4-CD, 150-track collection released by Irdial Discs compiling recordings of broadcasts by so-called “number stations” — “used by the worlds intelligence agencies to transmit secret messages” — over 20 years. Fascinating, bizarre, sometimes hilarious, and utterly Yeah. Two different MP3 archives of this remarkable work are freely available online (thanks in part, and ironically, to a successful copyright infringement lawsuit against the band Wilco, which used some excerpts on their CD, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot):

Farewell, Uwe Nettelbeck

Faust's first albumAnother loss of a music great. Uwe Nettelbeck — the “founder and mentor” of the amazing and legendary avant-prog krautrock group Faust — died on January 17, 2007. There’s a little more information at, but I’ve not yet learned the cause of death. Historically, the group’s members (past and present) are extremely private, so this is not too surprising. From what I can gather, he had been ailing.

Without Uwe, there would not have been Faust, and their landmark albums would never have been released. Indeed, thanks to this radical leftist journalist turned avant impresario Faust is the only “rock band” (let alone ultra-freaky experimental group) to ever be released on Deutsche Gramophone, the preeminent classical music label in Germany if not all of Europe. To learn more about Herr Nettelbeck and his impact, visit some of the links provided below.

I remember vividly the first time I heard Faust, in the Chicago apartment of a friend (a truly impressive record collector) during a small acid party, aptly enough. It was every bit as transformative a musico-artistic experience for me as seeing Sun Ra for the first time at Biddy Mulligan’s, and all the more impressive to me since it was just as powerful and astonishing and utterly radical when I heard that clear-vinyl-xray-hand album when the walls weren’t melting (at least not due to any chemical assistance). My very ideas of what music and even sound is and can be were completely and unalterably, well, transformed. I was truly never the same again as an artist, a listener or, really, as a person. And of course, I was by no means the only one to be so profoundly affected by that remarkable coalescence of talent, vision, and The Times that was Faust.

My deep and sincere condolences to all of Uwe’s family, friends, and compatriots. And my deep, eternal gratitude to him for everything he did to mutate our ears and minds more than 30 years ago. By the same token, profound thanks are due to Chris Cutler and Recommended Records for keeping the Faust vision alive for all these years.

Justice From On High

Psst. Former Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who presided over a president’s impeachment for a blowjob, was a pill junkie. Suddenly, the 2000 election makes way more sense.

“FBI records document history of Rehnquist drug dependency” (Jurist Legal News & Research, Jan. 6, 2007 — numerous links)

“Rehnquist Drug Dependency Detailed” (Associated Press, Jan. 5, 2007)

Declassified FBI documents:

Keeping America Safe From Jaywalking Scholars

(Note to self: stay way the hell away from Atlanta.)

Deceptively mild-mannered, bespectacled Felipe Fernandez-Armesto — historian, former don of Oxford and author of 19 books who besmirched Atlanta’s good name by attending the conference of the American Historical Society — not only dared to jaywalk (the terrorist!), but violated the most basic rules of all quasi-civilized nations by daring to request to the see the identification of the abrasive asshole giving him shit for it.

For this unconscionable behavior, obviously only one step up from baby raping, the abrasive asshole — who eventually turned out to be a member of the Atlanta Police Department whose badge was hidden by his bomber jacket — justly barked “When I give you an order, you obey it!” The manly embodiment of Throbbing American Man Justice then kicked the weasley “scholar’s” legs out from under him and pinned him to the ground like the crack-dealing Al Qaida bastard traitor he must be. Hell, considering what a shitbag he is, Fernandez-Armesto was lucky to escape only with a bloody gash across his forehead and various bruises on his arms, chest, and neck when he was cuffed into submission.

Thankfully, seven more members of Atlanta’s Finest swarmed around the Satanist child-pimping bio-terrorist to ensure he didn’t escape through some foreigner mind-control trickery!

Since Abu Ghraib is no longer taking residents, Atlanta’s holy guardians of decency were forced to merely throw him into a local detention cell with other junkies, whores, and pederasts. What a pity this limey freak of evil and DVD piracy was only held there for a paltry 8 hours. Not nearly enough time for a proper water-boarding, but at least it prevented him from plotting the despoiling of pure American womanhood with his fellow “historians”.

When the autofelching beastiality monger was generously taken before a judge — proof positive that “due process” is the TRUE scourge of almighty justice! — prosecutors rightly demanded he plead no contest. But did the ungrateful narcoterrorist hussy STD-gargler bow before his true masters? NO! HE REFUSED!

But, freedom-loving Americans, obviously there was a Communist ACLU feminazi plot afoot, because in the end, instead of locking the Jew-loving üntermensch in a strobe-lined breadbox and shooting him full of USDA LSD like he deserved, all charges were dropped. How — o how! — will fair Atlanta and the Great American Fatherland ever live down the mortal shame of letting such a heartless criminal go free???? I weep for the soiled smooth young tender virgin perky-nippled breasts of Justice! (Speaking of which, have they removed Ashcroft’s curtain yet?)

That’s Perfesser Spencer to You, Pal

Dang!  I just serendipitously discovered that I’m now cited as an authority (of sorts) on Wikipedia, specifically in the entry about the Dickson Experimental Sound Film (ca. 1895).  Some kind soul added an External Link listing pointing to my rather lengthy post about the film.  My humble thanks to whoever did that — very gratifying, indeed.

I suddenly recall that I’m also cited in the bibliography of some semi-fictionalized book about terrorism.  My dad was reading said book and found a citation for me as curator/editor of the olde (nay, ancient) Octopus Archive project, way the hell back in my days ca. 1994-95.  (It was a rather extensive [for the time] collection of conspiriana, covert history, political stuff, UFO lore and other high strangeness that I maintained initially as an FTP archive — remember those?)  Unfortunately, dad couldn’t remember the title of the book, but we both got a big kick out of it.